The Stroop Effect Is A Window Into Perception
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How easy is it to name the color of a word? As it turns out, not that easy—at least when it clashes with what the word says. This difficulty is known as the Stroop Effect, named for J. Ridley Stroop, whose 1935 study was the first to demonstrate this phenomenon. When you see the word "black" written in black ink, naming the color of the ink is easy. Same with seeing the word "pillow" in black ink. But when "black" is written in green, it may take you at least a moment to figure out the right answer. This is a demonstration of how our brain is so comfortable with some tasks that they happen automatically; in this case, we read and interpret words without paying attention to the physical characteristics of the letters themselves. This effect is so reliable that it's used in many psychology studies to test attention. Try it yourself in the videos below.
Carrots Weren't Always Orange
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It's easy to think of fruits and vegetables as natural and unchanging, looking and tasting the same today as they did centuries ago. But in fact, almost every plant we eat today has been changed by human cultivation. The carrot is a perfect example. Before being cultivated as the plump, juicy orange veggies we know today, wild carrots were thin, white, and only used for medicinal purposes. In the last few centuries BCE, humans began domesticating this wild variety into a plumper white root that was commonly confused with the parsnip. As carrot cultivation became more widespread, the vegetables began changing from white to bright yellow and deep purple. Carrots stayed this color for thousands of years. Around the 16th century, the Dutch began developing an orange variety from yellow carrots. Though a common story says that the Dutch created orange carrots to honor their royal family, the House of Orange, there's little historical evidence to back this up. What's more likely is that the new orange variety was tastier than yellow or purple versions, and gained its popularity that way. Explore the science of agriculture with the videos below.
The Meaning Of The Olympic Ring Colors
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The Olympic rings make up the iconic symbol for the Olympic games. The colors chosen for this image aren't just random, but in fact have significant meaning. Every flag of every participating nation has at least one of the five colors of the rings, or the white of the symbol's background. A common misconception is that the rings' colors represent the different parts of the world, but that's actually not the case. The symbol first made its appearance at the top of a letter written by Pierre de Coubertin, where he colored and drew the rings by hand. De Coubertin used the colors he did so that the Olympics could represent all of the participating nations in the year he drew it, 1913. The rings are all looped together and connected to represent unity among the nations. Learn more about the flag, and the Olympics games, with these videos.
Crayola Crayon Colors You've Never Heard Of
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The first Crayola crayon was manufactured Binney & Smith on July 10, 1903. Since then, hundreds of distinctly colored crayons have been produced at the iconic factory. The original colors that are still produced today include red, goldenrod, olive green, magenta, and carnation pink, plus only a few others. Dozens of unique colors have been added to and removed from the lineup, many of which you've likely never heard of. For example, the pinkish-red Permanent Geranium Lake was only produced from 1903 to 1910. A light green shade called Inchworm was introduced in 2003. A dark brown adorably named Fuzzy Wuzzy was added to the lineup in 1998. All of the crayons are made in Crayola's eastern Pennsylvania plant. The crayons are made from a proprietary mix of pigments and other ingredients before getting wrapped twice for strength. The factory makes 8,500 crayons per minute, and a staggering three billion crayons per year. We've collected some awesome videos on this topic. Watch them now to learn more.
YInMn Blue Is A New Pigment That Was Discovered By Accident
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In 2009, scientists at Oregon State University accidentally stumbled on a discovery: a new color. The "near-perfect" pigment, named YInMn blue, was discovered when the researchers heated manganese oxide and other chemicals to nearly 2,000°F (1,200°C), even though they were actually conducting an experiment about electronics, not color. The pigment is unique in that it can withstand fading from oil or water, making it especially appealing to art restorations. And, unlike Prussian blue or Cobalt blue pigments, the new blue does not contain carcinogens or release toxins. Its highly reflective nature also means YInMn blue may be painted on houses to reflect light and keep them cool. It was announced in June 2016 that the new pigment would soon be available as paint in the commercial market. We've collected some awesome videos on this topic. Watch them now to learn more.